Category Archives: Blog

POTS Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

I believe limbic trauma – adult or childhood adverse events – can lead to POTS. This is different to orthostatic hypotension – big mouthful – when your blood pressure drops too much when you stand or change your position. Be sure to consult a health care provider to exclude other causes, like dehydration, anemia, hormonal abnormalities, or side effects from drugs.

Blood Pressure and heart rate are regulated in the limbic system. Triggers can be subconscious – you can see something that triggers trauma and you not even know it. Other triggers can be bright lights, a certain taste or sound, fatigue, sight of blood, or any physical or emotional stress, usually emotional.

Some people then have an instant rise in pulse or a drop in blood pressure. POTS is when only the pulse changes – usually going up by 30% from baseline. The blood pressure can drop, or go up, but not change significantly.

I have a patient with me today, helping me discuss POTS. She explains that when she’s focused on anything serious, especially when she is helping somebody, her symptoms improve. When working or helping a person, her performance improves. She is stronger and overexerts herself, unfortunately suffering afterwards.

Being able to do more some days or some parts of the day is puzzling. Part of this may be an adrenaline surge. Definitely when less stressed, a person has less symptoms. When distracted, the brain occupied with other things, you can feel better.

Beware of overexertion. Pacing is very important. More pain causes more fatigue and erratic heart rates.

Patients with POTS may have tremors, headaches, migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, autoimmune disorders, allergic conditions, or celiac disease.

Speak to your health care professional before trying any of the treatments.

Water – 3 liters per day; Salt – 5ml (2 teaspoons per day) Waist high compression garments.

Propranolol can be used, usually 10 to 20mg four times a day

There are other medications, like midodrine 5mg every 4 hours, three times a day

or ivabradine 5mg twice a day if propranolol contra-indicated.

Inflammation needs to be treated. Speak to your health care provider. Use the body to calm the Limbic System.

If you have severe past emotional trauma, you need counselling, maybe even EMDR therapy. 

Low impact exercise is vital. Try the QiGong and Yoga on the link above calming the limbic system. 

Good luck and take care

Judy

Safety and health

Growing up we are dependent on our parents or caregivers. Even if they are not nurturing, due to their own emotional baggage, we have to look up to them, because they provide safety. When parents betray your trust, through neglect, or abuse, or even when our siblings, equally injured perhaps, turn on us, our safety is compromised.

The mother is the most important nurturing person in a family, but the father can help to decrease some trauma if he is really loving and nurturing. All too often children are left to their devices. We grow up either shaming ourselves or blaming others or somewhere in between.

Because we were not well taken care of, we don’t really know how to take care of ourselves. We are so busy defending our parents that we minimize the damage done to ourselves, our self image, to our personalities, and to our health. Sometimes growing up, people pleasers will even become the care giver in the home, even taking care of the parent.

This is how intergenerational trauma works. Traumatized parents traumatize their children. We say then ‘Oh my mother had it far worse,’ again minimizing our trauma. We bear shame. Thinking we should be stronger. Better. Shame causes immense pain and ill health.

The new science of epigentics tells us that stress can temporarily and even permanently change your genes. Stress opens gateways and pathways and causes chemical reactions that change your genes. One change can be inflammation. You can have inflammation pathways switched on. Inflammation in the blood vessels can cause heart disease, strokes, dementia. Inflammation in stomach lining and intestines can even cause cancers. You can have irritable bowel disease and even get inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis genes can be switched on. Eczema, asthma, allergies, acne, are all worse with stress. All sorts of problems.

This can be changed. Contact your mental health workers, counsellors, psychiatrists, people who love you, watch out for toxic people, spiritual leaders. Use your body to calm your mind

Try the Daily Program, especially mindful breathing.

Take care

Judy

Limbering up your Limbic System

When you have Complex PTSD, severe anxiety, or severe stress, chronic pain, your limbic system behaves as if you are under threat.

Your pituitary gland releases hormones to stimulate cortisol, adrenaline goes up, and inflammation goes up. Changes happen in your body. If you have a freeze response predominantly, weight goes up. You have have increased BP or decreased if you have POTS – postural orthostatic hypotension tachycardia syndrome. Long story short, you get sick, and will get sicker earlier in your life if you don’t look after your limbic system.

Try this regime – I use many Techniques for my CPTSD – breathing helped me manage my chronic sinusitis, butterfly hugs and Thoppokkurunam when I am tired or anxious, or when my ADHD is out of control. There are short maintenance exercises – like yoga which I do in the morning and QiGong at night.

Use the body scan – only 5 minutes – teaches you to take care of yourself. People with CPTSD very often don’t listen to illness signals in our bodies.

Take care

Judy

Vulvodynia

Tonight, in our BC ECHO for pain meeting, our topic is vulvodynia. This is the sensation of either burning, stinging, or sensitivity in the vulva area. Pain can occur spontaneously, or after sitting for long periods, intercourse, bicycle riding, tight clothes, using a tampon, or even a light touch.

This diagnosis is made once a healthcare provider has eliminated dermatological causes, infections, or an acidic diet. Some people with this condition have associated vaginismus, uncontrollable muscle spasms of the vagina, another often painful condition.

Individuals with depression have a 53% higher prevalence of vulvodynia than those who don’t present with depression. People with PTSD are twice as likely to have vulvodynia. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4628213/ . Those with complex PTSD, where they grew up with fear, have three times the likelihood of having vulvodynia. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4129923/

Treating spontaneous vulvodynia has a similar approach to treating chronic pain. Medication can help, especially those medications that soothe the nervous system, like tricyclic antidepressants, duloxetine, selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, SSRIs and anticonvulsants.

Of course, medication is not the only tool, and, for some people, these medications have intolerable side effects. This is especially true of people who have pain to touch. Pelvic floor exercises, biofeedback, and physiotherapy can be incredibly helpful.

Ice can be used to manage the pain, if that doesn’t help, try heat. It is not advisable to use lidocaine to have intercourse as intercourse can cause more pain.

Cognitive behaviour feedback is also valuable.

These tools can all be helped if you are able to Calm your Limbic System.

Good Luck

Judy

POTS dizziness low blood pressure high heart rate

POTS is a debilitating disease. It causes significant fatigue, fainting, or feeling faint, nausea, sweating, and the stress of POTS causes inflammation, lack of sleep – which causes more stress, more inflammation, more nerve symptoms, tingling, chronic pain.

My patient sitting with me says it is like a crippling migraine without a headache. My body doesn’t work. Pick up something heavy, and the arm goes numb. Affects my quality of life tremendously. I want to exercise, but then I get purple legs, pain, nausea, dizziness.

One of the many stress responses in the Limbic System is the secretion of ADH – Anti-diuretic hormone – meant to protect your body from blood loss. The Limbic system does NOT see the difference between physical danger (stress) or emotional danger (stress) or POTS (stress on the body ) and it reacts as if you are losing blood volume.

You develop thirst. Drink too much. Don’t excrete enough urine. Then you get sick. Nausea. Stop drinking because you are sick. So you use up the volume and then when that is done, the ADH rises again and we are back in the same cycle.

STOP DRINKING MORE THAN MAXIMUM 8 GLASSES OF LIQUID PER DAY. You will be thirsty. Suck on a lemon – life is a lemon anyway. Don’t use liquid salt or electrolyte drinks – makes it worse. Use salt tablet. Soy sauce and Marmite spread are useful.

Low impact exercise – small amounts 5 – 10 minutes frequently in the day. Learn pacing. Almost certainly your expectations will be higher than your body can manage because your body is sicker than you want to believe. Sorry – depression.

Improvement can happy with working on Limbic system. Try this link Ways to Calm Down – It may help.

Try and see if this helps. Really we are at a loss to treat this condition. I hope this helps a bit.

Good Luck

Judy

Inflammation causes disease

Chronic inflammation from toxins, like infections, sugar, alcohol, stress, they affect your blood vessels. The inflamed blood vessels are more likely to pack cholesterol clots and cause angina, heart attacks, strokes, eye or kidney disease. Inflammation in the brain can cause dementia.

Inflammation in the liver can cause fatty livers or livers affected by alcohol to be even more damaged. 

Work on any toxin you can avoid to lower inflammation.

Socialization with people who are nurturing is helpful. Avoid negative Nellies. Spiritual work is vital to our health.

Here is a program to help lower inflammation from stress – which we all have after and during this pandemic and one political crisis after another. 

Ways to Lower Stress and Inflammation.

Good luck 

Judy

Fight Fright Flight Response

Everyone responds differently to shock, or outside stress. If you have had a difficult childhood it is especially difficult to manage your stress response. 

To get better, and recover from stress and/or past trauma, we need to overcome barriers. The biggest hurdle is accepting and recognizing your main response to stress. This response is from your Limbic System

I am so lucky to have a Fight Response my main response. I take after my dad. He was a great boxer but unfortunately quick to lash out. I call my stress response a red flag because it comes up quickly and I attack like a bull. 

Many of my patients have a Flight Response. They run from their problems. Their most common response will be “I don’t want to talk about.” They can be hectic, always busy, even spending all their time running after other people, helping them, rather than themselves, all to avoid confronting issues. 

The most difficult response to overcome is the Frozen Response. These people are the procrastinators. They withdraw into themselves. Very often they have weight problems because their Limbic System if frozen and their metabolism is slow. They are the hardest to mobilize. They lack curiosity because their thinking processes are frozen. They also bear the heaviest shame burden because they blame themselves for not doing more. They are frozen like a rock. Solid and hard to move. Hard to change. 

I believe that stress and trauma are really well managed by working with the body. The body can calm the mind. If the limbic system is calmed, then the thinking parts of the brain will start to light up. 

Try these Ways to Calm Down. If you have a Fight or Flight response, you may likely see benefits even within a week. I know I did. I did yoga in the morning, Qi Gong at night, a light exercise program for 10 – 20 minutes in the day, and at least 2 of the other exercises during the day. 

If you have a Frozen response, it could take months of work to grind the rock down to sand. We need to be fluid. 

If you have Chronic Pain, your Limbic system is very activated. Try these exercises and adjust according to your body’s abilities. 

Good luck.

Judy

 

 

Leaders in Managing Chronic Pain

Dr. Andrea Furlan is another dedicated leader in chronic pain. She has wonderful videos on how to manage pain and I have added them to many sections of my website, including: Neck Pain, TMJ pain, Hand Pain, Back Pain Spinal Stenosis, Diet and Lifestyle.

She can be trusted, and is recommended by @PainBC ECHO for pain management. She is a physician and scientist, working at the Institute for Work & Health and the KITE Research Institute at University Health Network.

Thank you Andrea @adfurlan for your contribution to the society of pain warriors.

Judy

Toxins and Inflammation

Two years into this pandemic and it does NOT feel like yesterday. It has certainly taken some getting used to, and I continue to struggle against the stress of the changes we face.

We all know stress is a toxin, but there are many other toxins out there that can cause inflammation and disease.

Repetitive injuries can be harmful and cause inflammation. If the body doesn’t have time to heal, or if the injuries are not dealt with properly, then the area of inflammation can spread to uninjured tissue, causing widespread pain.

Diseases can be toxic to your body. If you have an autoimmune disease, your body produces antibodies that can be toxic to your tissues. Diabetes leads to high glucose which is toxic to your body.

Some people are very sensitive to sugar and refined sugar can lead to inflammation, either directly to tissues or indirectly, by causing inflammation. It’s hard to cut back on sugar, especially when you have addictive genes. I find being satisfied with a mere bite of chocolate the holy grail. Oh, well . . .

Alcohol is another toxin. It is not equally dangerous for everyone. Those of us with complex PTSD or metabolic disease (often these go together), we are especially likely to develop disease from alcohol. Alcohol can damage nerves and the brain and it also attacks muscle. Nerve injury from alcohol can be very painful and affect one’s ability to walk properly.

Another toxin to the body is inactivity. The body becomes stiff and sore without proper movement. During the day, we should move at least every 20 minutes. When we wake in the morning, especially when we get older, we are often stiff and sore from not moving. It’s hard to move when you have pain and often you have to start with a minute or two every hour and slowly increase.

Complex PTSD often interferes with movement. If you are born with a heightened freeze response, you are more inclined to resist movement. Limbic system trauma can affect the motivation centres of our brain and this makes doing 20 to 30 minutes of exercise a day rather like climbing mount Everest.

If your flight response is heightened, you may be more interested in doing other things rather than attending to your trauma. You could be more likely to focus on helping others, running around busily, rather than attending to your body’s needs. It’s a way to avoid facing our past traumas.

To help your body heal, you could try Ways to Calm Down. This program can help calm the Limbic system and lower inflammation.

There are many other toxic substances we encounter every day, either specifically toxic to us, or generally toxic. Even pain medications, like Tylenol, if taken regularly, can cause headaches.

I hope this website can help you find ways to stretch, breathe, pace, and heal.

Good luck on your journey to healing.

Judy

Treating Hypothyroidism

Low thyroid levels are fairly common especially in postmenopausal women.

Checking your thyroid levels is very important. Low thyroid levels for a long time can cause changes to skin, hair, and can make you feel tired and cold. You may even gain a little bit of weight or become constipated. It can even change your cholesterol levels.

If you doctor prescribes thyroid medications, your health care provider will check TSH levels. TSH is Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. It comes from your pituitary gland in the Limbic system.

The TSH stimulates your thyroid to produce more thyroid hormone. If your thyroid levels are too much, your TSH level will be low. If your thyroid hormones from your thyroid gland or from your medication is too much, then your TSH will be very low.

Too much thyroid can be dangerous, especially over a long time. As you get older, your TSH levels should be a little higher – in other words your thyroid hormones a little lower – than when you are younger. Too much thyroid is more harmful to your body than too little.

Here is a great link to the THYROID GLAND.

I hope that makes sense.

Take care.

Judy